El Salvador asks US government for explanations regarding spying in Latin America
Officials in El Salvador’s Ministry of Foreign Relations announced they would ask the United States government for explanations about recent reports of large-scale spying and illegal telecommunications monitoring throughout Latin America. National Security Agency (NSA) documents leaked by Edward Snowden demonstrated that the US government had partnered with private telecommunications providers throughout the continent to collect information. The Brazilian newspaper O Globo broke the story.
The main focus of surveillance was gathering information on Venezuela’s nationalized petroleum industry, Mexico’s nationalized electrical industry as well as military intelligence from throughout the region. To do this, millions of peoples’ communications in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, and El Salvador were being indiscriminately monitored. Read more about the spying program in this article by Benjamin Dangl.
“Our government is following this situation,” said Jaime Miranda, El Salvador’s Vice Minister of Development Cooperation, “it is at odds with the principle of sovereignty and it violates Salvadoran’s rights to privacy.” In an official statement, the Ministry of Foreign relations said it would use diplomatic channels to request explanations from the US government.
The large-scale spying operations demonstrate the US government’s continued prepotent attitude towards relations with Latin America at a time when governments and social movements across the continent are asserting their sovereignty. And the focus on gathering intelligence on nationalized industries reflects US economic policy in the region, which seeks to open up new markets to private, and especially US-owned, corporations. But the responses from Latin American heads of state, ranging from concern to anger, also reflect that the people of Latin America certainly do not think they live in the US’ “backyard.”